Frequency and clinical characteristics of progranulin mutation carriers in the Manchester frontotemporal lobar degeneration cohort: comparison with patients with MAPT and no known mutations

SM Pickering-Brown, S Rollinson, D Du Plessis, Karen Morrison, A Varma, AMT Richardson, D Neary, JS Snowden, DMA Mann

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    Two hundred and twenty-three consecutive patients fulfilling clinical diagnostic criteria for frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), and 259 patients with motor neuron disease (MND), for whom genomic DNA was available, were investigated for the presence of mutations in tau (MAPT) and progranulin (PGRN) genes. All FTLD patients had undergone longitudinal neuropsychological and clinical assessment, and in 44 cases, the diagnosis had been pathologically confirmed at post-mortem. Six different PGRN mutations were found in 13 (6%) patients with FTLD. Four apparently unrelated patients shared exon Q415X 10 stop codon mutation. However, genotyping data revealed all four patients shared common alleles of 15 SNPs from rs708386 to rs5848, defining a 45.8-kb haplotype containing the whole PGRN gene, suggesting they are related. Three patients shared exon II R493x stop codon mutation. Four patients shared exon 10 V452Wfsx38 frameshift mutation. Two of these patients were siblings, though not apparently related to the other patients who in turn appeared unrelated. One patient had exon I C3ILfsx34 frameshift mutation, one had exon 4 Q130Sfsx130 frameshift mutation and one had exon 10 Q468x stop codon mutation. In addition, two non-synonymous changes were detected: G168S change in exon 5 was found in a single patient, with no family history, who showed a mixed FTLD/MND picture and A324T change in exon 9 was found in two cases; one case of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) with a sister with FTDMND and the other in a case of progressive non-fluent aphasia (PNFA) without any apparent family history. MAPT mutations were found in 17 (8) patients. One patient bore exon 10 + 13 splice mutation, and 16 patients bore exon 10 + 16 splice mutation. When PGRN and MAPT mutation carriers were excluded, there were no significant differences in either the allele or genotype frequencies, or haplotype frequencies, between the FTLD cohort as a whole, or for any clinical diagnostic FTLD subgroup, and 286 controls or between MND cases and controls. However, possession of the A allele of SNP rs9897526, in intron 4 of PGRN, delayed mean age at onset by 4 years. Patients with PGRN and MAPT mutations did not differ significantly from other FTLD cases in terms of gender distribution or total duration of illness. However, a family history of dementia in a first-degree relative was invariably present in MAPT cases, but not always so in PGRN cases. Onset of illness was earlier in MAPT cases compared to PGRN and other FTLD cases. PNFA, combined with limb apraxia was significantly more common in PGRN mutation cases than other FTLD cases. By contrast, the behavioural disorder of FTD combined with semantic impairment was a strong predictor of MAPT mutations. These findings complement recent clinico-pathological findings in suggesting identifiable associations between clinical phenotype and genotype in FTLD.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)721-731
    Number of pages11
    Volume131 (Pt 3)
    Early online date7 Feb 2008
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2008


    • genetics
    • frontotemporal dementia
    • progranulin
    • progressive
    • MAPT
    • tau
    • non-fluent aphasia
    • apraxia


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